PROFESSOR Jerry Gana is a man of all seasons. He has impacted the thought of many Nigerians with all the national assignments he has been made to manage; from civil service to politics.
His ability to mobilise people and opinion is not in doubt. This may be why he has been appointed as one key official to quickly harmonise the disenchantments in the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Board of Trustees(BoT), where fraying nerves have made it difficult for a credible chairman to emerge during the last meeting of the exclusive group.
Today, party loyalists and many other Nigerians who see the BoT of the ruling party as an important political organ because of its functions to the presidency, are eager to see what judgement Gana and his committee will come up with as a prelude to the anticipated progress in the effort to elect a credible BoT chairman.
The failure of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to elect a successor to Olusegun Obasanjo as new Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman may not be a national issue, but it has raised a lot of concerns among Nigerians who nurse a high degree of passion for the stability and growth of the Nigerian democracy.
This is because, the fact that the presidency is not enjoying the advantage of getting a top-scale advice from its party top-notch may be part of the growing spate of policy instability that has dogged this administration since the last one year.
It is a fact that the Jonathan administration may have been missing the privilege of quality advice which can only come from its experienced and honest party men under the aegis of Trustees and whose decisions are always laden with ideas that can move the polity forward. Obasanjo and Yar’Ádua enjoyed these advantages using the likes of Alex Ekwueme and Anenih at different times.
The plot to have this election not concluded at this period could be a part of a probability that it was designed to allow President Goodluck Jonathan to fail due to poor quality advise.
It is obvious that a good number of the interested parties in the BoT saga may have simply insisted on derailing the due-process already established by the BoT constitution based on their own personal political agenda.
For instance, the fact that some members of the party are thinking of two-term tenure for the new BoT chairman against the established period of one term explains the fact that there are ploys creeping into the books of the group from outside its pre-determined administrative rules and regulations.
It is alleged that the BoT convention has passed two-term tenure as against the contents of the newly printed constitution for the election which has one-term tenure.
Again, the history of the office of BoT shows that the office has never been zoned since inception as all the chairmen have been southerners based on the need of those periods and the state of integrity of those holding the office at that time. The party has only based its choice on loyalty, integrity and experience and not zones.
The current idea to make a change in BoT leadership should not be seen from the point of geographical need but that of preparedness and availability. According to top BoT members, “zoning is not in our dictionary because the BoT is self-regulatory.
It takes out those who do not conform to our established standards by itself. No amount of politicking or horse-trading can diminish that. Even when the committee publishes its report, the main features of the BoT will not be found wanting because the committee members have an idea of what the BoT has since stood for”.
The idea of self-regulation looks more perfect in all the activities of the party as the BoT, as an organ of the PDP, determines positions based on roles of each person in line with their current values to the party.
Some contestants to the post may have been relevant to the party in the past but the present scenarios in the polity may not offer them such opportunities they had in the last eight years and such people may be considered by the BoT mechanism to be largely useless for the post.
The party’s internal and external interests are not static and could not be seen to be favourably managed by one who was relevant in 1999 and has fallen out of favour in 2011 or today based on his roles today.
It is imperative that the BoT mechanism must be alive to this check, otherwise it runs the risk of running into self-destruction. One justification to this issue of self-regulation is the fact that the BoT should know that contestants whose wards, states and some other vital electoral offices were won by other parties do not have any reason to seek such an office because their failure to win their homes for their parties are clear indications that they do not have the integrity to direct the machinery of governance or influence it.
What this means is that contestants like Tony Anenih, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Oyedokun and Alex Ekwueme have no business asking for such an office. They can also remember that the time some of them were the chairmen of the BoT, they were at their highest period of political command in their states. Their current value to party machinery can now be determined by the level of influence they can win.
The Jerry Ghana Committee will be expected to find out if the decision to allow Senator Walid Jubril to continue is in good tone based on the fact that he should have served out his first term with his chairman or be made to hold an interim appointment pending the election of a BoT chairman.
If Walid goes on to be nominated again, it would mean that he will be there for 10 years. Then, many would want to know if the BoT secretary’s position has become the birth-right of the North Central geographical zone. Moreover, the rush to elect a secretary only to postpone the chairmanship election indicates that some members are plotting some selfish agenda which cannot thrive under any conventional process .
A deep look into the entire plot that made the election to be postponed through a politicised motion moved by the senate president, political pundits are of the opinion that Walid was merely a stooge planted by some clandestine interests from the North Central to create an impression that two people cannot emerge from that zone, but forgetting the fact that BoT does not use zoning formula and the fact that Walid should serve out his term which ended long ago.
According to political analysts, since the party has also indicated that the past BoT has no more integrity, why does it have to continue to roll-over the secretary as if he was not a part of them. They believe that the secretary does not have any moral right to continue to function after the BoT has lost faith in that tenure that brought it to power.
As a matter of fact, political analysts also believe that the popular candidate for the post before the botched election, Senator Amadu Ali, is believed to have been extraordinarily transparent based on his past records as a former chairman of the party and campaign kingpin, would make a lot of difference if he gets the nod to become the party’s eyes at the presidency.
This explanation is believed to have generated a lot of discomfort among politicians who are not inclined to function with aristocrats like the military-medic turned politician.
It is generally believed that by the time the about 100 members of PDP’s exclusive club reconvene for the election, Gana and his group would have made the transition look smooth to produce a chairman that will run the BOT for the next one term and offer the presidency the much needed support.
It is clear that Gana has the conscience to deliver unbiased judgement based on his very long date with the party and posterity. If this happens, the PDP would have gradually retrieved itself from the tag of a political party that has frequent wrangling.
Many Nigerians believe that the last would be heard when the committee concludes its work because party loyalists do not expect anything less from Jerry Gana who they said has been a complete party faithful from the roots.
Mr. NNAEMEKA EZEOBA, a political analyst, wrote from Abuja.